Proteins are made up of amino acids, and there are four calories in every gram of protein. There are 20 separate types of amino acids, 9 of which are classified as essential amino acids. Essential amino acids cannot be manufactured in the body and therefore must be consumed. All the 20 types of amino acids must be present for the body to function well. Different types of food will contain a variety of these amino acids highlighting the importance of diversifying your protein sources.
Role of protein in the body
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The protein macronutrient is an essential building block for every cell, organ, and fluid in the body, including bones, hair, cartilage, antibodies, and even blood. Therefore, to have healthy cells, you must consume the required quantities of proteins in your meals. The proteins are also vital in the repair of cells and the production of essential hormones and enzymes and a great source of energy in the absence of carbohydrates and fats. Their role in ensuring that the body has an acid-base balance cannot be overlooked.
The number of proteins consumed will be determined by the age of the individual, the level of physical activity and lifestyle. The more active an person is, the higher the amount of protein required to repair and regenerate cells and tissues in the body. Young and developing kids, men, and women who are engaged in manual activities, therefore, require higher quantities of proteins in their diets. However, three servings of proteins are sufficient to provide all amino acids needed. Given that the body does not store proteins, even under stringent conditions, one must ensure that they get at least one serving of protein every day.
Sources of protein macronutrients
Proteins can be derived from both plant and animal sources. Plant-based sources include beans, lentils, and dark green vegetables. Plant sources are considered incomplete, but the body can combine amino acids from different sources to create the missing ones, provided they do not fall under the essentials category.
Animal sources include white and red meat. While consuming meat, it is preferable to choose lean meats to prevent the consumption of fats that can clog blood veins in the body. Examples of animal sources include beef, poultry, fish, and other seafood. It may also come from animal products such as eggs, cheese, and milk. Animal proteins are considered high quality, given that most of them contain all the nine essential amino acids.
Macronutrients need to be taken in large quantities to provide the energy or nutritional value required by the body for proper functioning. However, too much of any nutrient can have unwanted effects. In the case of proteins, the body will get rid of excessive amounts through waste. It is, therefore, essential that you consume what is enough for your organization.